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official Syllabification: of·fi·cial
Pronunciation: /əˈfiSHəl/

Definition of official in English:


1Relating to an authority or public body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities: the governor’s official engagements
More example sentences
  • All official bodies have a responsibility for it in policy-making, management and resource allocation in their spheres of activity.
  • This is a very tricky question, not helped by the official response to recent public debate, which has been pure spin-doctoring.
  • It was the third official investigation into his activities.
ceremonial, formal, solemn, ceremonious;
informal stuffed-shirt
1.1Having the approval or authorization of an authority or public body: French is the official language of Quebec
authorized, approved, validated, authenticated, certified, accredited, endorsed, sanctioned, licensed, recognized, accepted, legitimate, legal, lawful, valid, bona fide, proper, ex cathedra
informal kosher
1.2Employed by an authority or public body in a position of authority or trust: an official spokesman
More example sentences
  • Then, during the Second World War, he was employed as an official cartoonist to the US forces stationed in Europe.
  • This, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, reflected the continuing value that the public placed on the honours system.
  • The report said the blame for the tests not being carried out rested with official veterinary surgeons employed within abattoirs to look for suspect animals.
1.3Emanating from or attributable to a person in office; properly authorized: official statistics
More example sentences
  • The opinions contained are those of the authors, and no official endorsement is intended or should be inferred.
  • Whatever happens, few members of the public accept the official line that the case is criminal and not politically motivated.
  • Parents are being urged to ensure their children obtain official authorisation if they need to be out of school for any reason.
1.4often derogatory Perceived as characteristic of officials and bureaucracy; officious: he sat up straight and became official


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A person holding public office or having official duties, especially as a representative of an organization or government department: a union official
More example sentences
  • Mostly obviously they now can use the right to be represented by a union official in disciplinaries.
  • He said that the questioning of another media representative and a public official is expected today.
  • The small boxes were delivered to his office through an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
officer, officeholder, administrator, executive, appointee, functionary;
bureaucrat, mandarin;
representative, agent
derogatory apparatchik


Example sentences
  • Actually, to delay reporting about disasters is almost a tradition here, partly because of officialism and localism.
  • Stunned by the cultural assumptions of this re-christening, Tseng became Kwong Chi in his photographs, posing with phony officialism in front of famous landmarks.
  • It is alarming that surgeries are bogged down by farcical officialism and red tape, instead of leaving medical staff to use their own discretion.
Example sentences
  • They supposedly prefer dollars to pesos already, so it wouldn't be a big deal to officialize it.
  • When it came time for his brother to sign the witness statement officialising the marriage, he paused for several long moments and simply looked at the groom.


Middle English (originally as a noun): via Old French from Latin officialis, from officium (see office).

Words that rhyme with official

artificial, beneficial, initial, interstitial, judicial, sacrificial, solstitial, superficial
Definition of official in:
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